Shalini Gupta, 06 Sep 2013

NOTHING captures the changing face of the hospitality  sector more vividly than the  arrival of a completely new segment - ‘wellness’. In an increasingly complex economy, the modern day traveller is mixing business with pleasure.

This coupled with  stress in professional life and rising concerns about  quality of life has led to the hospitality sector embracing spas and wellness centres as an integral component.

Distinct trends in wellness
While large hotel chains do have well-developed spas as an in-house facility, with the seasoned traveller demanding authenticity, small boutique facilities whose name to fame is their local content, are also on the rise. The meteoric growth of Ayurvedic wellness centres in the Kerala coastline is a classic example of this trend.

Besides, the past few years have seen the emergence of resort spas, day spas, salon spas, destination spas, club spas, medical spas, cruise ship spas, mineral spring spas and airport spas that employ professionals. Although still in its infancy, the sector offers lucrative career opportunities to aspiring students and has a huge potential. A recently released report by E&Y for FICCI estimates the spa and wellness industry in India at Rs. 11,000 crores with a growth rate of 25-35 percent in the next few years.  
What the job entails
From pure massage centres to complete therapeutic clinic attached spas, the segment has diverse job opportunities. In the spa operations, one can start as a trainee therapist. Therapists need to be familiar with the basic physiology and anatomy of the human body.

They also need to have knowledge about the various types of massage and spa therapies as well as about the specific health conditions that can be rectified or healed through massage. They could   specialize in a specific area as per their interest and become Ayurvedic therapists, International Therapists, Multiskilled (Ayurvedic and International) therapists, Holistic therapists or Beauty therapists. 

Soft skills, a must
  • Customer service-orientation
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Compassion for people, sensitivity
  • Team work

Study and reward
There are a lot of institutes offering courses in spa therapies in India. However, The Ananda Spa Institute in Hyderabad is the one such  institute to provide  a range of accredited diplomas.

The prominent ones are ASI Spa Diploma that covers all the aspects of the spa skills, ASI Holistic Diploma in spa therapies like Swedish massage, reflexology, etc.

The duration ranges from three to five months. “A genuine interest in wellness and health is important for any professional pursuing a spa career and he or she would need to upgrade this on an ongoing basis,” says Colin Gary Hall, Corporate Head of Spa Operations, IHHR.

Opportunities galore
Being a highly skilled career, spa professionals’ salaries are determined by their experience and qualification. One of the most important attributes of a spa professional would be to handle tricky situations politely. Across the industry, in India, entry level salaries as trainee therapist could start from around 1.2 lakh rupees per annum, besides on site benefits and accommodation, adds Colin. “One could earn as much as a lakh per month, if he/she has the skill and the experience and is good at the job,” adds Kamayani Kanwar, promoter of Asian Roots, a Delhi-based day spa. 

Related stories:

Hospitality education & training
Front office: at your service
Housekeeping: Meet the keepers
Hospitality education in India and abroad
Wellness is in a new growth trajectory
Food Production: Mixing food and business
Food and beverage services: What's on the menu?
Chef Ananda Solomon: "You need passion, perseverance"

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